Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ode to my Dad

We always worry about the wrong things. Last week, I was concerned about an out-of-town fishing trip, last second details at work, upcoming travel logistics, and potential topics for upcoming blog essays. At the time, it seemed like the appropriate focus, and thankfully, I added to that list having some time with my family and making sure I called my dad before I went fishing. What I didn’t know last Tuesday was that my father, Dale Hill Levisay, would suffer a dramatic cardiac event Friday morning and quickly pass away twenty four hours later. Thankfully, I did indeed talk to my Dad changing planes in the Minneapolis Airport last Wednesday morning, and while he had had a bad night, he was excited about my “Walleye Plans” and wanted a lot of pictures. I spoke to him one last time Friday afternoon as I was making my way to his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, (with the tremendous help and support of dear friends and “fishing buddies” Chris, Paul and Scott). He was present enough to ask about the fishing trip and wanted to know how many fish we caught. Literally a fisherman to his end!

The following is the obituary that I wrote for my Dad early yesterday morning. It is an understatement to say that words can’t equal a life, but at least it gives a brief overview of my Father:

Dale Hill Levisay passed away suddenly last Saturday, September 21, at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. He is survived by his wife of thirty seven years, Doris Levisay, his brother James Livesay of Richmond, Virginia, his three children: Mark, Bill and Alice Levisay, his two stepsons Bill and Tom Dunwoody, and his eleven loving grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by his first wife Arline Levisay and a daughter Lois Ann Levisay.

Dale was born in Durbin, West Virginia, on July 2, 1930 and grew up along the banks of his beloved Greenbrier River. After graduating first in his class from White Sulphur Springs High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country aboard the U.S.S. Valcour and the U.S.S. Oriskany. Upon an honorable discharge, he entered Virginia Tech where he studied Electrical Engineering, ultimately graduating again at the top of his class in 1956.

Dale spent a long and productive career in the Electrical Engineering field, most notably working for ALCOA in a number of locations for over thirty years. He was always singularly proud of his executive liaison assignment that took him to Tokyo, Japan, for a few years late in his career. A holder of a number of patents, he is remembered fondly by ALCOA associates today.
After retirement, Dale and Doris spent many happy years in Louisville, Tennessee, and Williamsburg, Virginia, travelling the world and spending time with family and friends. Dale loved to tinker in his workshop, always creating new inventions that he shared generously. A scout master for many years, Dale was also an avid Ham radio operator, fisherman, and a keen gardener his entire life. He will be missed deeply by all who knew him.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made in Dale’s memory to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. No public memorial service is planned.

Once again, we always get lost in the trivial business of life and always worry about the wrong things. Whether lessons learned from my grandmother “MaMa” (Dad’s mother), my first boss Bruce Paynter, or from my Dad’s passing this past weekend, I recognize that life is precious and fragile! In the end, all the material possessions (the “stuff & things”) of life wash away and all that really matters is the love in your life with those who are precious to you.

1 comment:

  1. Bill, I occasionally read your blog and always appreciate the wit and wisdom you share. I was touched by the words and memory of your dad. My sincerest condolences. He sounds like a wonderful guy. Must have been if he reared such a great son. God bless you and your family.